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Festival-goers get 'pumpk'ed up

October 17, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, PA. -- On a chilly and rainy Saturday morning, the 17th annual Pumpkin Festival at Renfrew Park offered warm soup, cider and smiles for guests huddled in a pavilion.

"Everybody seems pretty happy today," said Doug Tengler, president of Renfrew Committee Inc.

Pumpkin Festival organizers called an emergency meeting Thursday, when weather forecasts indicated they were in for a rough weekend.

Bonnie Iseminger, Renfrew Museum and Park administrator, said canceling the festivities never was an option.

"We had too much time and volunteer involvement to turn back," she said.

Instead, plans were scaled back -- no live music, pumpkin carving, trebuchet, hay rides or scarecrow making. Volunteers chose to sell pumpkins, soups, hot dogs and baked goods in the pavilion, which also served as the site for a pumpkin-baking contest.

The 10 entries in that contest varied from pumpkin bread to pumpkin enchiladas.

About 25 gallons of soup sold before 11:30 a.m., said David Hykes of the Renfrew Executive Committee. The two varieties -- black bean and vegetable -- were available either hot or frozen.

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Tengler usually helps with Pumpkin Festival parking, which often overflows beyond Renfrew's property. He said about 1,000 people turn out for an average year.

"We've been very fortunate in the past several years when we've run out of parking spaces and food," Tengler said of the joint fundraiser for Renfrew Institute and Renfrew Museum.

Cold raindrops didn't deter Kim Saunders and her son, Ethan, from going to the festival for their first time.

"We wanted to get pumpkins and get some good, warm soup," she said.

Ethan Saunders, 7, carved a jack-o-lantern last year and hopes to do so again soon. He doesn't necessarily focus on size or shape when searching for the right pumpkin.

"It just depends on how healthy it looks," Ethan said.

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